Just Breathe

I have remarkably few pictures of Cameron just chilling. Sitting still. Not in a frenzy of activity, a constant stream of chatter pouring out of his mouth, jumping here and there, running around, making noise just for the sake of making noise. I don’t even think he’s aware of it. So I had to choose one that was a moment of peace while perusing books at the library. It was either that or snap one of him while sleeping, and I figured the flash might wake him up.

After a particularly challenging evening yesterday, where Cameron could not get himself under control for his kickboxing belt test, I decided that perhaps a new approach is needed. He needs to learn how to be aware. How to get himself under control.

LibraryReading helps. He calms down and sits still when he’s reading. But that’s disappearing into a book, being unaware more than aware, and I want to teach him to be present, to be aware.

Hmm. Presence. Awareness. Seriously, am I thinking of teaching a rather hyper and distractable kid meditation?

Yup.

Breathe. Just sit still, and breathe. Focus on what you’re doing.

Wait. That’s not so good. We toss around the word ‘focus’ for him, but he doesn’t know what it means.

Think to yourself, I’m taking a deep breath in. And, I’m slowly breathing out. I’m taking a deep breath in. I’m slowly breathing out. Slow down, this isn’t a race.

First try, we aimed for just three slow, deep, aware breaths. No other movements. No watching anything. Eyes open, but just … breathe. He squirmed. He fidgeted. He raced through. He moved his whole body to breathe. But he liked the idea of finding a way to calm down, so he kept trying eagerly. He managed three breaths without moving. Okay, were you thinking of breathing? No? Okay, try again. One more time. Again, three slow, deep breaths. Then he kept going. Six … and … seven.

That felt good, Mamma, he calmly said after a moment, staying still, eyebrows up with surprise.

Today, Cameron sat on the edge of his bed, and breathed. He was surrounded by toys, books, by distractions.  Nimoo even climbed up and rubbed against him, purring – she never does this, she knows that he needs very little encouragement to grab and snuggle. He didn’t even crack a smile.  One last deep breath, and he announced after releasing it, That was twenty, Mamma. He gently petted Nimoo.

It’s a start. We chatted about why he’s doing this – to learn to slow down, to be aware of what he’s doing. We’ll build on it after a while, but he can learn for now that this is a basic exercise he can go back to when he’s stressed, nervous, can’t calm down, when he’s upset and things are just too much. It’s a way to find a little moment of peace.

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2 responses to “Just Breathe

  1. Wow. What a great idea Melanie. Sounds like a really good start for Cameron . . . becoming. LU

  2. Thanks! I just spoke with his school counselor, who helped to set my mind at ease about the increase in wackadoo behaviour from Cameron and my plans on how to manage it. Unfortunately this is happening just as school is wrapping up for the year (which may be contributing to it), or else she’d be able to reinforce what I’m doing. We chatted about this mediation plan, and she outlined for me what she would do next … which was pretty much exactly as I’d been planning. I’ll keep posting about this as it evolves, and also the other part to this, getting him to be aware of his actions (annoying sounds, repetitive behaviour, etc) as he’s doing them without hurting his feelings.

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